Gone are those days when eating out or ordering food from fast food outlets was my thing. Nowadays, I am more of a 'let's cook at home' person. I try as much as possible to stay away from eating outside and on a few occasions when options become limited, I pick my battles carefully in relation to the kind of food I eat. No thanks to food poisoning that almost took my life a few years ago.
What started as a normal, enjoyment-filled evening took a horrible turn a few minutes after downing a meal of fried/jollof rice combo with a lap of fried chicken. It all started as harmless stomach trouble which I was hoping would go away with time. I even continued the activities for the evening trying to play the hard guy and not wanting to spoil the evening for everyone by withdrawing into my crib.
The stomach trouble grew to an unbearable level, eventually culminating in me taking an excuse to use the toilet. Of course, it will take me just a few minutes and I will be back in no time to continue the fun - I thought to myself. Unfortunately, I felt a bit weak after taking a dump and the stomach trouble persisted. All the evening fun had to be truncated for place indoor, on the bed to be precise.
The whole stomach trouble thing took a new turn a few hours later, just after midnight, when I visited the loo for the second time and could hardly walk thereafter. As strong as I thought I was back then, I was left with no option than to succumb to being taken to the hospital. What started as stomach trouble has degenerated into a terrible fever with serious shaking and abnormally high body temperature.
Within a few minutes at the emergency section of the hospital, a couple of dextrose saline drips have been passed into my system and a series of samples taken for laboratory analysis. I just lied on the bed like wilted vegetables. Between 1 am and the dawn of the same day, I have lost count of the number of intravenous drips in antibiotic infusions that have found their way into my system but the good news was that the stomach trouble and the fever had subsided.
At about 7 am, I was advised by the nurses on duty to either get discharged or be ready to pay for being admitted overnight should a new set of staff take over for morning duty. Since I felt a bit better, I opted to get discharged. A quick look in the mirror revealed that I have had a serious bout within a few hours. It was a horrible food poisoning situation. Was it Escherichia coli? Was it Shigella? Or was it another bacteria capable of causing food poisonings such as Bacillus cereus, Campylobacter jejuni, Clostridium botulinum, Clostridium perfringens, Listeria monocytogenes, or Staphylococcus aureus? I had no idea and no idea was given by the medical personnel.
Perhaps the whole food poisoning thing might not have been so memorable (nah, just joking, that shit was memorable) assuming that terrible constipation did not set in as a result of one of the antibiotic infusions that were passed into my system. For about a week after the whole event, I did not visit the toilet. It was not a concern initially until two weeks after when the deed still remained undone.
I resorted to different drugs, including the likes of oral senokot and liquid paraffin but all to no avail. I was about to head back to the hospital to seek help until a fruit smoothie was suggested by a close friend. After taking the smoothie a couple of times, I was fortunate enough to get the reprieve I had long sought.
Why I'll always prefer local foods
Foods from fast food outlets look all fanciful and aesthetic in appearance, especially under different fanciful lights in which they are usually displayed. The ambient light often covers for whatever defects these foods may have. Many of these foods will actually fail the appropriate food quality tests.
Compared to local food cafeterias where foods are usually served hot while still on the fire, fast foods could be harboring pathogens from the environment and as a result of cross-contamination from handling. I will rather go for food that is being served at 70 to 80 degrees temperature where pathogens have got no chance than some foods covered in fanciful lights. Unless, of course, the food is being prepared and served afresh. I have had my fair share of their evils.